Panzenella Salad is for salad haters. It’s like the best possible case scenario for a salad. This year for my birthday, Jenny made me dinner. She had talked to me about side dishes, and then brought up the word “salad” and asked what kind I liked best. “Meh, I don’t like salad.” I said, and this is how I learned of Panzanella Salad.
The thing with salads is that to me, they will never be as face melting as pork belly sliders or poutine. So why should I waste stomach space on it? I know, I know, I should because it’s good for you. I know. I agree. Still doesn’t mean I like it, or am happy about eating it. I am happy about eating sandwiches, and since Panzanella Salad is basically a salad made of a sandwich, I think it’s the best salad ever.
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Simple Panzanella Salad
- 1 French baguette, cubed
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ounces ciliegine (small mozzarella balls), patted dry and sliced in half
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 hot house cucumber, cubed
- ½ shallot, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place cubed baguette into a large bowl and sprinkle with thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and oregano. Gently toss together.
- Drizzle oil over bread mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss together until fully combined.
- Pour mixture onto a baking sheet, in single layer (you may need two baking sheets) and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. (It’s okay if the croutons are still slightly soft when you pull them from the oven, they’ll crisp up eve more once cooled).
- Set aside and allow croutons to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl combine croutons, mozzarella, tomatoes, and cucumber and toss together. Set aside.
- For the vinaigrette: Place shallot, garlic, brown sugar, and balsamic in a small bowl and whisk together. While whisking add oil, in a slow and steady drizzle, until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
- About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, pour vinaigrette over salad and toss together until well coated.
- Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- **Note: Adding the vinaigrette to the salad prior to serving won’t make your croutons soggy! This will just allow the flavors of the salad to marry together before you